International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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23rd IVU World Vegetarian Congress 1975
Orono, Maine, USA

Vegetarian theories: from reincarnation, to anatomy, to character improvement.

The article below is an extract from a longer item in a Beirut, Lebanon, weekly newspaper called 'Monday Morning', occupying seven pages in all, as the main item featured on the cover. It was found in a collection of articles relating to the 1975 IVU World Vegetarian Congress in the USA. One of the people mentioned in the article, Mrs. Louise Raff, was a member of the IVU International Council at that time, and presumably sent this to the IVU President in England:

VOLII No.99 - Week of May 6-12, 1974 - Price LL.2

Vegetarianism: the view from Beirut

Vegetarianism may not be flourishing in Lebanon, but Kamal Junblatt isn't the only herbivore in sight either. Monday Morning talks to the capital's resident vegetarians and checks their statements with the nutrition experts.

By Nadia Salti Stephen

[ . . only the section about Mrs. Raaff has been reproduced below . . . ]

Mrs. Louise Raaff, a Dutch teacher of Yoga at the Yoga Shanti Niketan (Ahmed Minkara Bldg., Mme. Curie Street, Beirut), is a member of the International Vegetarian Union [more precisely a member of the IVU International Council] and will be representing Lebanon at the Union's world conference to be held in Maine, U.S.A., in summer 1975 [we have no record of whether she actually did attend].

"I was a great animal lover," she told us, "and I was happily eating their meat once. One day I would pet a chicken, the next day I'd eat it. What a contradiction! Seven years ago, after being exposed to Yoga for many years, I became a vegetarian. Vegetarianism is an automatic process with Yoga. Yogis believe that we should not take away a life which cannot come back; life has more meaning than we can conceive; every soul goes through a cycle, and we have no right to terminate the cycle at any stage of its development. So, in fact, before becoming a vegetarian in the dining room, you must become a humanitarian in your heart and be convinced in your mind of this philosophy. Yogis believe in the entity of nature, that we and all living matter are part of one whole whose harmony we disrupt by killing animals, uprooting trees and messing up the environment. A good example is how much the world is suffering from pollution and ecological problems. If we were to leave things the way they were meant to be, in their natural state, nature would take care of its waste, rejuvenation and growth. We cannot do without nature, but nature can thrive without us.

"Vegetarians are those who do not eat 'the three Fs': flesh, fowl and fish. Vegans are those who go beyond that and abstain from milk, milk products and eggs; their diet is of a completely plant origin. I am a vegetarian. I drink milk and eat cheese - and an egg when I feel I need to.

"A vegetarian must be knowledgeable enough to work out a balanced diet. He must feel satisfied, not crave for other foods. In Lebanon, with the abundance of of fruits and vegetables it is very easy to plan a vegetarian diet. Your Lebanese dishes such as hummus, fule, mutabbal, etc., are very nutritious.

"We do not eat refined or processed food, either. Natural foods are superior - honey instead of sugar, brown bread instead of white bread, fresh fruits and vegetables instead of tinned ones. We consume a lot of dried fruit, like raisins, dates and figs - they have the natural sugars. We also eat a lot of raw nuts, like almonds, walnuts and black peanuts - they're very rich in protein. As for fresh fruits and vegetables, the ones that grow on artificial fetilizers and are sprayed with insecticide look perfect, but their vitamin and mineral content is inferior to that of unsprayed fruits and vegetables raised on natural fertilizer. Man is destroying himself by his own inventions. He is exhausting the soil with agricultural aids like artificial fetilizers and insecticides. In 10 years' time there will be a general food shortage if nothing is done about this - and done quickly."

In support of vegetarianism, and relative to the problem of food shortage, Mrs. Raaff provided us with the following comparative statistics prepared by Dr. Charles Hunter, indicating the number of people 100 acres of land can feed if used to raise animals or agricultural products:

Product lbs/100acres People fed/year
Mutton 26,000 41
Milk 193,000 53
Wheat 150,000 250
Potatoes 1,430,000 683

In view of these figures, of the world's growing population and of the limited area of land in the world, Mrs. Raaff pointed out, the advisability of vegetarian diets needs no elaboration.

"Furthermore," she added, "our bodies are certainly made for eating fruits and vegetables, not meat. Aside from our anatomy, our bio-chemistry demands it. We thrive most on a diet which is 75 precent alkaline and 25 percent acid. Meat, eggs, nuts, legumes and sugars are acid-forming foods. All vegetables and citrus fruits are alkaline. On ameat diet, the body is forced to get rid of more acid than it meant to. It gets rid of so much, and the rest remains in the body and creates all sorts of problems. Cell rejuvenation is at its best with alkaline diet - which is why vegetarians boast longer 'youth' and meat-eaters suffer from premature aging. Also, there is a high positive correlation between meatless diets and the absence of constipation, hypertension, rheumatism, cancer, skin and heart diseases. I myself felt the difference when I turned to vegetarian diets: I became more alert, more resistant to common ailments; I had no more headaches. My body can now be more active without getting exhausted... My mind is clearer; I can concentrate for longer periods and my memory is much better. The body on a vegetarian diet gets rid of its toxins and has no heavy burden in purifying itself.

"I suggest that those who want to give this diet a try should do so gradually, not abruptly. Get off meat in stages. And I would stress that for vegetarians as well as for non-vegetarians, over-eating is the source of many problems. One should always leave the dining room with the feeling that 'I could have eaten more,' instead of 'I shouldn't have eaten so much'."

People interested can get in touch with Mrs. Raaff at her Mme. Curie address (see above), where demonstrations of vegetarian cooking are to be held in June and July (watch for the announcements).

[further sections of the original article omitted]